Chinese New Year – Sichuan Stir-Fried Beans

The first, but hopefully not my last contribution to the Chinese New Year event is a versatile recipe I got off a mailing list some time ago – it is from Cook’s Illustrated. Although it combines beans and minced pork, it can easily be adapted to serve as a vegetarian dish as well.

Stir-Fried Sichuan Green Beans

I used regular organic green beans. This would have been even better with yardlong beans, and maybe a few reconstituted Chinese mushroom caps, chopped, but we both marveled at the balanced flavors nonetheless. It is particularly good if you can lay your hands on fresh, young garlic instead of the more readily available dry variety.

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Stir-Fried Sichuan Green Beans

INGREDIENTS:

– 2 tablespoons soy sauce
– 1 tablespoon dry sherry
– 1 teaspoon sugar
– 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
– 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
– 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
– 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
– 2 tablespoons water
– 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
– 450 grams green beans, ends trimmed, cut into 2-inch pieces
– 110 grams ground pork, or 1/4 lb minces shiitake mushrooms, or 1/2 lb firm tofu, diced
– 3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed (about 1 tablespoon)
– 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
– 3 scallions, white and light green parts sliced thin
– 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

METHOD:

Serves 4 as a side dish, and 2 as a main course

1. In a small bowl (about 1 cup or more) stir together soy sauce, sherry, sugar, corn starch white pepper, pepper flakes, mustard, and water until sugar dissolves. Set aside.

2. Heat oil in a 12-inch non-stick skillet over high heat until just smoking. Add beans and cook, stirring requently, until crisp-tender and skins are shriveled and blackened in spots, about 5-8 minutes. (Reduce heat to medium high if beans darken too quickly.) Transfer beans to a large plate.

3. Reduce heat to medium-high and add pork/tofu/mushrooms to nowempty skillet. Cook, breaking meat into small pieces, until no pink remains, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and ginger. Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 15-20 seconds. Stir sauce to recombine and return beans to pan with sauce. Toss and cook until sauce is thickened, 5-10 seconds. Remove pan from heat and stir in scallions and sesame oil.

Serve immediately, over rice.
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Notes: I have upped the amount of ground pork slightly, as well as the amount of ginger.

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